It’s human nature to compare yourself to others. But for many people, comparing all the time can become overbearing to the point that you find it hard to make a decision and do what you really want in your life.

Sometimes it can be helpful to let go of the need to compare yourself and just focus on the present moment. I came across this quote from Marcus Aurelius which explains perfectly why we shouldn’t compare our-selves to others.

“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.”
― Marcus Aurelius

In other words, focus on you and improving yourself!

Here are 4 steps to let go of the need to compare yourself and focus on you:

1) Recognize that you’re comparing yourself to others.

The first step is becoming aware that you’re doing it. It won’t feel completely natural to focus on yourself to begin with as we are conditioned to compare ourselves. But by using a mindfulness technique of observing your mind, you can take a step back and being aware of your conditioned and reactive thought processes, which gives you the power to quickly dissolve any negative thoughts that may arise.

2) Focus on all that you are rather than what you think you’re lacking.

Why do so many of us even feel the need to compare ourselves to others? In the end, we’re all human and we all have an incredibly complex brain. We’re are all incomparable and unique.

But if you think you’re not a miracle, then you need to read this from Alan Watts:

“Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you’re a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don’t feel that we’re still the big bang. But you are.

Depends how you define yourself. You are actually–if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning– you’re not something that’s a result of the big bang. You’re not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are.

When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself, I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I’m that, too. But we’ve learned to define ourselves as separate from it…

You, by being this organism, call into being this whole universe of light and color and hardness and heaviness and everything…”

3) Keep everything in perspective.

We each have our own path, journey, unique personalities, and gifts to share with the world. If you’re too busy comparing yourself to other people, you might miss all the blessings put before you on your path.

We all get life once, and it’s a much more fulfilling life when we focus on being grateful for what we do have rather than what we don’t.

4) Practice mindfulness and shift your attention to the present moment.

By practising mindfulness, you can take a step back and recognize when you’re comparing yourself to others, and then shift your attention to something more positive.

As master Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh says: “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

Originally published on The Power of Ideas.

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